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ICBC's First Blockchain Patent Is Now Public

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of the country’s four largest state-owned commercial banks, is exploring a way to authenticate digital certificates and store data in a sharable blockchain.

According a patent application filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), the bank aims to use a blockchain system to improve the efficiency of certificate issuance and save users from repetitively filing the same document to multiple entities.

The technology, based on the patent, touts a system where a certificate issuer will first match a user’s credential with a particular certificate digitally. After it’s approved, the data will be encrypted and moved onto a blockchain which will update the distributed ledger held by different entities that could potential require this certificate.

By further decrypting the data with users’ specific credentials, the system will allow entities to view an authenticated document digitally to streamline its operation flow.

The patent, currently the first blockchain-related one filed by the bank with the SIPO, was first submitted in November 2017 and released on Friday.

It explained that the technological exploration stems from the current pain point where consumers are constantly being required to submit the same certificate – such as for birth, marriage or eduction – by different entities they are dealing with.

“Traditionally users have to obtain a certificate from an authority that issues it, which does that manually. And then they present it to entities that require the certificate. This process is inefficient and poses the counterfeit issue,” the bank wrote in the document.

The patent application marks another effort taken by a Chinese state-owned commercial bank to utilize blockchain technology in data storage and sharing.

Recently, Bank of China has also detailed in a patent application its move to develop a technology that it claims to be better able to enhance blockchain’s data storage and process capacity.

See the full patent application below:

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South Korean Banks Face Scrutiny Over Crypto Exchange Ties

Six unnamed commercial banks in South Korea are being scrutinized by regulators for their relationship with the country’s bitcoin exchange ecosystem.

According to a Jan. 8 statement, the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Supervisory Service want to know whether the banks – which offer accounts for cryptocurrency trading – are properly complying with anti-money laundering and customer identification rules.

“The inspectors will look into whether the banks comply with their anti-money laundering (AML) obligations in their transaction with cryptocurrency exchanges; and whether they have in place appropriate measures to verify their customers’ identification in regard with cryptocurrency trading,” the agencies remarked.

The release went on to note that officials will also investigate whether the banks have electronic systems to match deposit holders’ names with virtual account holders and if the banks can halt transactions with exchanges which refuse to provide customer information, among other areas.

The release noted that the South Korean government is monitoring cryptocurrency trading, concluding:

“The government continues to review all possible options including shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges in order to maximize side effects of cryptocurrency trading – fraud using cryptocurrencies, cyber hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, and irrationally overheated speculation.”

Less than a week ago, South Korean news organization Yonhap News announced that the country would begin implementing its new cryptocurrency exchange regulations later this month. Officials first revealed plans to more closely police Korea’s exchange ecosystem in December.

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